Two girls aged 13 and 14 have been held on suspicion of abducting a three-year-old girl in Newcastle city centre. A large-scale hunt was launched after the toddler went missing from a Primark store located on Northumberland Street at 4.55pm BST on 13 April.
Police combed through CCTV footage from Newcastle City Council, local shops, Newcastle University, bus companies and their own cameras in a desperate bid to find the child. "It was quickly established that she had left the store with two teenage girls who she did not know," a spokesman for Northumbria Police said.
They were able to track down the girl just over an hour later. She was found several miles away in Gosforth.
The child was "quickly reunited with her mother". The two teenage girls were arrested and are currently in custody on suspicion of child abduction.
"This has been an incredibly distressing time for the girl's family and specialist officers are working with and supporting the family," said Chief Inspector Dave Gould.
"We mobilised all available local police resources to make sure the girl was found as quickly as possible and also included assistance from the public, and many of our partner agencies including Newcastle local authority and university as well as staff from retail premises, bus companies, train station and metro system.
"I would like to thank all of those involved for their help in finding this little girl and helping reunite her with her mother," added Gould. "Our enquiries will now continue to establish the circumstances of what happened and speaking to the two teenage girls in custody regarding the incident."
Anyone who has information about the incident is being urged to contact the police by calling 101 and quoting reference 692 130416. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.